Since October 2018 it has been possible to take a bus to Macau from Hong Kong via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Previously Macau was only accessible from Hong Kong by ferry. The ferry is still a great option, but so is the bus over the new bridge and there are a number of pluses to taking the bus. Side note: In Hong Kong we refer to Macau as Macau, in Macau they spell it Macao.
Macau is just across the water from Hong Kong. Like Hong Kong it is a Special Administrative Region of China and like Hong Kong you don’t need a China visa to visit (but you will need your passport). As a former Portuguese colony, there is some beautiful architecture and it is more laid back and less crowded than Hong Kong. And if you love pandas, you have a much better chance of seeing them here (not in the wild). It makes for a great day trip or overnight stay that you can add to your Hong Kong itinerary. Famous for its casinos and colonial era Portuguese architecture, seafood and egg tarts, you won’t be disappointed. Basically a Macau tour makes for an excellent complementary day trip from Hong Kong.
Reasons to take a bus to Macau
All that being said, the ferry is more spacious with toilets on board and snacks and drinks available, and takes you right into downtown Macau.
Before you catch the bus, you obviously need to make your way to the Bus Terminus which is located on Immigration Island, accessible directly by bus, taxi or private vehicle. Parking here has a daily rate of HK $320, or, if you prebook via their website, you can halve the daily rate to HK $160 per day.
It’s located close to the airport on man-made island named Immigration Island. From Hong Kong Airport it’s quick and cheap to take either a Bus (look for B4) or head to the taxi rank and hop in a cab. (The blue taxi is the most cost effective, but any taxi will do).
You can either take a taxi from your hotel, which is the most straightforward, but expensive option. Otherwise head first to the airport by bus or MTR and then a bus or take a taxi from your hotel. *At time of writing, the Airport Express has been offering limited service due to protest action. Please check if you will be able to travel. If unsure, a taxi is probably the best option.
You can pay for your outward journey with your Octopus card, however when buying your ticket back to Macau, you will need cash or credit card. You can use Hong Kong Dollars in Macau, so you don’t need to be concerned about converting more currency. However, be aware that when paying in Hong Kong Dollars, you will receive change in Macau Patacas… and sadly the use of them isn’t reciprocated in Hong Kong. Oh and as a little FYI, if you are gambling in Macau, nearly all casinos use Hong Kong Dollars as their house currency not Patacas.
Once through passport control, signposting to the bus is clear. Please note, there are no restroom facilities or refreshments available once you board the bus. Once you have boarded, you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
From the bridge you will see the island studded sea (unless visibility is poor, in which case you won’t see much). Hong Kong’s famous and highly endangered pink dolphin population live close by, so there may even be the sliver of a possibility of spotting one. The best and most conservation-friendly way to get up close with the pink dolphins is by booking a boat trip with our friends at Dolphin Watch.
Upon reaching Macau, the terminal is vast. So be prepared for a little bit of walking to get through the terminal. Once outside you will find taxis and free shuttle buses to the ferry terminals. Here’s one current downside to taking the bus to Macau. When disembarking the ferries there is a line of free buses going to most of the major casino hotels. For now at least, when arriving by bus, you would have to first take a shuttle from the arrival port on to one of the ferry terminals and then take a second free shuttle bus onward to the casino hotels.
Recently the bridge has been opened up to private vehicles. If you want to drive to Macau, please check the Hong Kong Government website for up to date step-by-step instructions. We too can provide a car transfer service to the immigration point in Macau on the other side of the bridge, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for booking, this service is HK $2,500 for a one-way trip and HK $4,200 for return trips.
The BEST way to see Macau is to take a tour. Our private tour guide Aubrey is the man for the job,
Depending on your requirements and how much time you have available, here are some of the highlights we can include for you:
Find full details about our Macau tours with Aubrey here.
If you’re staying longer you can explore the casinos at your leisure, visit the Galaxy water park or go up the 338 metre tall Macau Tower where you can simply enjoy the observation deck or try one of the adrenalin activities such as a sky walk or bungee jump. While on your Macau tour, check with Aubrey for restaurant recommendations and other tips to get the most out of your visit.